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Pilot-Plant Study of Wastewater Sludge Decontamination Using a Ferrous Sulfate Bioleaching Process

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The objective of this research was to investigate the performance of the ferrous sulfate bioleaching (FSBL) process in a pilot plant for decontamination and stabilization of wastewater sludge. Batch and continuous experiments, conducted with two 4-m 3 bioreactors using indigenous iron-oxidizing bacteria (20% v/v of inoculum) with addition of 4.0 g ferrous sulfate heptahydrate per liter of sludge initially acidified to pH 4.0, were sufficient for effective heavy metal (cadmium, copper, manganese, zinc, and lead) removal yields. The average metal removal yields during the FSBL process were as follows: cadmium (69 to 75%), copper (68 to 70%), manganese (72 to 73%), zinc (65 to 66%), and lead (16%). The FSBL process was also found to be effective in removing both fecal and total coliforms (abatement >5 to 6 log units). The nutrients content (nitrogen, phosphorus, and magnesium) were also preserved in decontaminated sludge.

Keywords: Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans; bioleaching; ferrous sulfate; metal; stabilization; wastewater sludge

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2006

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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